Taming Georgetown’s inshore tarpon

Numerous tarpon spend the summer in Georgetown’s waters, and these fish can put on a show when hooked.

Summer is prime time to catch a Carolina tarpon

August is the prime month to target tarpon in the inshore waters along the South Carolina coast.

Guide Greg Holmes of Fish Skinny Charters out of Georgetown, South Carolina specifically fishes for everything from bull reds, speckled trout, and flounder to the ultimate of all, the silver king.

“Tarpon show up around here in mid-July and are available until the first week or two of October,” Holmes said. (843-241-0594) “But, the second and third week of August is the peak for tarpon fishing in the Georgetown area, especially in the bay.”

The inshore and nearshore waters are inundated with mullet, menhaden, and juvenile fishes this time of year. The tarpon will gorge on these schools of baitfish wherever they can find them. And the nearshore and inshore waters are typically teeming with forage in August.

“The jetties, river mouths, beachfronts, and bays are good places to find tarpon in the peak of the summer,” he said.

Look for activity

Holmes patrols these areas and looks for fish feeding, rolling on the surface, or bait busting on the surface.

“I like to ride in the bay on the rising tide and look for nervous bait. Sometimes you can even see the flashes at a distance. It’s not that hard to see. And it can be obvious when a big one explodes on the surface,” he said.

Holmes floats either live or dead bait 3 feet below a cork. Floating the baits enables them to cover a large area. He will use either a live or dead 9- to 12-inch mullet or large menhaden on a 7/0 or 9/0 offset circle hook.

“It is always best to fish these areas when you see fish surfacing and feeding on live schools. Sometimes you don’t see them at all though. But it doesn’t mean the tarpon aren’t there either. We will stake up and fish these areas for a while,” he said.

Typically, tarpon will be traveling in groups that can be in small two- to three-fish schools to over a dozen fish in a school.

Tarpon are regularly caught across the east coast from North Carolina to Florida. They migrate up the coast from Florida following the bait venturing up the Eastern Seaboard. And the rich and fertile waters around Georgetown are prime places to land a 100+ pound fish in the simmering August waters.

About Jeff Burleson 1309 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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